Down A Rabbit Hole I Go

A Novel/History/Art

The last few days has been really interesting and sometimes I think I bite off more than I can chew when it comes to history the details. Thank goodness I take notes and file them away for reference! Let’s begin with this past weekend. One of the books I’m currently reading is, “Temple” by Matthew Reilly and there are a lot of interesting history involved.

Now let’s skip forward to Monday. My particular interest in American History is the 19th Century though often times more than not, it takes me further back. I started to think about the colonies and how they formed. William Penn came to mind for some reason. Those thoughts were a bit scattered and I posted about it on Facebook. I’m conflicted on a few of the content about him and have quite a few questions. Penn was an interesting man and I’m hoping to discover more to have with you all in a future post.

Tuesday as I was thinking about the book, “Temple,” later on that day a YouTube Video came up on my feed titled, “America Unearthed: Ancient Mayans Secrets in Georgia.”Now isn’t that interesting! I watched half of the documentary and hoping to finish the rest soon I highly recommend looking at the video and into the history.

Abstract EditedYesterday I spent the day with work, reading, organizing my craft area-it’s gets messy real fast-and cleaning out some stuff in the basement. I’m been on a cleaning frenzy of late and it has been a real eye opener on fast things get piled up! I hope you all are having a good week and I want to share one more thing before I go. Recently I made an abstract with acrylic paint and I pinned it to a velvet board and placed it in a wood shadow box. It looks great in the shadow box but was unable to get a decent picture of it without the reflection from the glass.

Stephanie Hopkins

(Images may be subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work, photos and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

The King’s General by Daphne du Maurier

Shamefully I’ve always assumed that Daphne du Maurier was wildly known for her works, Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel and Jamaica Inn without really looking into her other stories. Yesterday, I saw someone mention her book, “The King’s General by Daphne du Maurier.” I quickly jumped on Amazon and goodreads to check it out and have added it to my 2020 to-read list. Most likely I will be listening to the audiobook since I have two credits available and I’m saving my pennies for research books. Anyhow, I can’t wait to get started on this novel! If you read the story, please let me know what you thought. -Stephanie Hopkins

The King's GeneralAbout the Book:

Honor Harris is only eighteen when she first meets Richard Grenvile, proud, reckless – and utterly captivating. But following a riding accident, Honor must reconcile herself to a life alone. As the English Civil war is waged across the country, Richard rises through the ranks of the army, marries and makes enemies, and Honor remains true to him.

Decades later, an undaunted Sir Richard, now a general serving King Charles I, finds her. Finally they can share their passion in the ruins of her family’s great estate on the storm-tossed Cornish coast-one last time before being torn apart, never to embrace again.

Cover Crush: The Seamstress by Allison Pittman

Cover Crush The Seamstress

The premise sounds intriguing, great title and I love the cover design! Adding this book to my to-read list -Stephanie Hopkins 

A beautifully crafted story breathes life into the cameo character from the classic novel A Tale of Two Cities.

France, 1788
It is the best of times . . .

On a tranquil farm nestled in the French countryside, two orphaned cousins—Renée and Laurette—have been raised under the caring guardianship of young Émile Gagnon, the last of a once-prosperous family. No longer starving girls, Laurette and Renée now spend days tending Gagnon’s sheep, and nights in their cozy loft, whispering secrets and dreams in this time of waning innocence and peace.

It is the worst of times . . .

Paris groans with a restlessness that can no longer be contained within its city streets. Hunger and hatred fuel her people. Violence seeps into the ornate halls of Versailles. Even Gagnon’s table in the quiet village of Mouton Blanc bears witness to the rumbles of rebellion, where Marcel Moreau embodies its voice and heart.

It is the story that has never been told.

In one night, the best and worst of fate collide. A chance encounter with a fashionable woman will bring Renée’s sewing skills to light and secure a place in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. An act of reckless passion will throw Laurette into the arms of the increasingly militant Marcel. And Gagnon, steadfast in his faith in God and country, can only watch as those he loves march straight into the heart of the revolution.

 

A cover-crush-banner

Cover Crush: The Arctic Fury by Greer Macallister

My thoughts on the cover and my overall impression about my first glimpse of the story description: 

I haven’t read a review copy of this book but one can tell the cover is fitting for the story. Shall we begin? I spotted the cover release on twitter, made a mad dash to the author’s website, went over to goodreads to add the book to my to-read list, then headed on over-quickly-to NetGalley to see if they picked it up. Much to my dismay, there are not review copies available on that site. Sigh. One can only hope at this point…

The Cover:

Oh let me count the ways…the graphics aren’t extraordinary BUT the arctic scene, a 19th Century women in the depths of arctic land, the hues of the layout, the manner of the Lady’s dress, and the title jumping out right at you? Yes, please!

The Premise:

A 19th century female leading a party of women into the wild? Not only that but who these women are and their skills makes it all the more interesting!

A year after the expedition Virginia Reeve is on trial and murder is involved? Okay, I must know what happens! I must read about these women. There are alternating timelines to this story and those tend to be my favorite style of writing. Will the author hold her reader’s attention with this story? I aim to find out! -Stephanie

The Arctic FuryThe Arctic Fury

In early 1853, experienced California Trail guide Virginia Reeve is summoned to Boston by a mysterious benefactor who offers her a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: lead a party of 12 women into the wild, hazardous Arctic to search for the lost Franklin Expedition. It’s an extraordinary request, but the party is made up of extraordinary women: mountaineers and battlefield nurses, interpreters and journalists, other adventurers. Each brings her own strengths and skills to the expedition–and her own unsettling secrets.

A year and a half later, back in Boston, Virginia is on trial for her life, accompanied by only five survivors. Represented by an incompetent attorney, persecuted by the rich parents of her supposed victim, and desperate to keep her own secrets, Virginia believes her trial is unwinnable. Told in alternating timelines that follow both the sensational murder trial in Boston and the dangerous, deadly progress of the women’s expedition into the frozen North, this heart-pounding story will hold readers rapt as a chorus of voices answer the trial’s all-consuming question: what happened out there on the ice?

Last week’s Cover Crush

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated by Erin at Historical Fiction Reader 

Other book bloggers who participated in the great cover crushes series. 

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden’s Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired

(All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

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Advance Readers Copy Approved!

I’m seeing quite a few of particular hues in book covers this year. I love it and St. Martin Press and NetGalley approved me for an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of The Jane Austen Society!! I am thrilled to no need! I will be starting with this one right after I finish Finding Dora Maar.

I’ve also acquired an ARC of The Indigo Ghosts by Alys Clare by NetGalley and Severn House Publishers. The premise sounds fantastic! Check it out below and let me know what you think. I adore both covers!

I have been in a reading/reviewing slump for a while and these new ARC’s will really help, I think. I am so thankful for the publishers’ for not giving up on me! I hope you all are having a wonderful week and happy reading! -Stephanie

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The Jane Austen SocietyThe Jane Austen Society
by Natalie Jenner
St. Martin’s Press
General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction
Pub Date 26 May 2020
Description

“Fans of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will adore The Jane Austen Society… A charming and memorable debut, which reminds us of the universal language of literature and the power of books to unite and heal.” —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris
Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.
A powerful and moving novel that explores the tragedies and triumphs of life, both large and small, and the universal humanity in us all, The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.

The Indigo GhostsThe Indigo Ghosts

by Alys Clare

Severn House Publishers

Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 02 Jun 2020

Description

In this gripping forensic mystery set in Stuart England, Gabriel Taverner uncovers a series of shocking secrets when he’s summoned by his former naval captain to investigate strange goings-on aboard his ship.

October, 1604. Former ship’s surgeon turned country physician Gabriel Taverner is surprised to receive an urgent summons from his old naval captain. Now docked in Plymouth harbour, having recently returned from the Caribbean, Captain Colt believes his ship is haunted by an evil spirit, and has asked Gabriel to investigate.

Dismissive of the crew’s wild talk of mysterious blue-skinned ghosts, Gabriel is convinced there must be a rational explanation behind the mass hallucinations. But matters take a disturbing turn when he and the captain discover a body hidden behind one of the bulkheads. Calling on the help of his old friend, Coroner Theophilus Davey, piece by piece Gabriel uncovers a terrifying tale of treachery, dark magic, unimaginable cruelty – and cold-blooded murder.

 

Saturday Sunday: Layered Pages Book Review

The Ghost of Madison Avenue by Nancy Bilyeau

My thoughts of the story:

The Gilded Age has always been a fascination for me and I consider New York City the center stage of the era for the most part. The era brings us impressive architecture and bigger than life people who inspired greatness. Morgan Library and the man who brought us its glory plays part in this glamorous and magical story.

Bilyeau brings us a new tale of not only J.P. Morgan and is magnificent library and museum but what seems an other-worldly Irish-American lady, Helen O’ Neil.  Helen is hired by stunning Belle da Costa Greene to conserve Morgan’s artifacts.  Soon after Helen begins her work, strange things begin to happen and her life takes a turn that finds herself in a most unusual event-if you will.

Bilyeau is one of my favorite writers and she has the talent to bring readers new content to the table. This story alone has deepened my fascination with the Gilded Age and wanting to know more about J.P. Morgan. My only problem with this story is that it ended and I wanted to read more about the characters lives. Bilyeau in my opinion is artistic with her writing. Having said I had a problem with the story ending, she ended the story with a feeling of rightness and the closeness of family.

The Ghost of Madison Avenue is beautifully told, atmosphereic and rich with unique people and history.

Stephanie Hopkins

The Ghost of Madison Avenue 4 F3More About The Story:

Kindle Edition, 108 pages
Published December 11th 2019 by Amazon

Helen O’Neill, part of a tight-knit Irish-American family in the Bronx, is only too happy to report to work at the spectacular private library built on Madison Avenue by millionaire financier J. P. Morgan. The head librarian, the brilliant and beautiful Belle da Costa Greene, had hired Helen away from the Metropolitan Museum of Art after she witnessed Helen’s unusual talent with handling artifacts.

Helen soon discovers the Morgan Library is a place like no other, with its secret staircases, magical manuscripts, and mysterious murals. But that’s nothing compared to a person Helen alone sees: a young woman standing on Madison Avenue, looking as if she were keeping watch. In learning the woman’s true link to the Morgan, Helen must face the pain of her own past. She finds herself with a second chance at happiness that could only happen on Christmas Eve—if she has the courage

Relevant Links: 

Read about The Secrets of J.P. Morgan’s Private Library

The Morgan Library & Museum 

Nancy Bilyeau’s Amazon Page